In June of 1845, settlers from Missouri arrived in what was to be called Independence. One of the settlers, John Thorp settled north of Ash Creek and that area was called Thorps’ town. In 1861, a large flood occurred that left the town devastated. A new city, south of the old town, was platted on higher ground in 1867. The town was called Henry Hill’s town of Independence. By 1885 the two towns merged to create Independence.
With its location along the Willamette River, Independence originally benefited from the timber industry. During the 1920s and ’30s, Independence became well known for its hop industry. Independence has a long history of an agricultural base. In 1989, the historic district was established in a 30 block area located along the Willamette River. The early character and architecture have been preserved to make the Independence downtown area filled with charm. The Riverview Amphitheater and Park were completed a few years ago and is a stunning park that adds to the livability of Independence.
The City of Independence is the third-largest urban area in Polk County, Oregon. As of 2003, there were 6,850 residents of Independence. It is located across the Willamette River from Salem to the Southwest. It has three city parks, and Independence has two festivals, its Western Days (co-sponsored with Monmouth) and Hop and Heritage Festival. For homeowners looking for small-town charm, Independence is a good choice. New construction homes are available as well as older historic homes. Whether it is modern amenities or old home charm, Independence has both.